Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Archbishop Emeritus of Agra Cecil D'Sa Passes Away
Most Rev. Cecil D'Sa who hails from Mapusa in Goa was ordained Bishop of Lucknow in 1971 before being appointed Archbishop to the Metropolitan See of Agra in 1983.
Upon his retirement in 1998, he was succeeded by Vincent Concessao hailing from Puttur in Mangalore, who two years later was appointed to the Metropolitan See of Delhi to succeed Archbishop Alan de Lastic who died in a tragic car accident in Poland.
Archbishop Oswald Gracias hailing from Orlim in Goa, who ruled Agra for six years since, has recently taken up his new appointment as Archbishop of Bombay. The Vacant See at Agra currently awaits the appointment of a new Archbishop.
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 11:21 PM
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Spurred by the Spirit - By Cyril John
Reflections on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the beginning of the New Millenium
The book will be released by the Most Rev. Valerian D'Souza, Bishop of Poona and Episcopal Advisor of the Charismatic Renewal in India, in the presence of His Emminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, on 27th December 2006 during the 13th National Catholic Charismatic Convention to be held at Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala.
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 9:46 AM
Friday, October 27, 2006
St. Jude Shrine, Pakshikere, Mangalore
The details for the 2006 festal celebrations follow.
St. Jude's Feast Celebration - 2006 Programme ScheduleNovena from 19th-23rd October mornings at 8:45 a.m.
20th October 2006
"Jesus Speaks" - Youth RetreatTime: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
22nd October 2006
Free Medical CampTime: 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Venue: South Canara Jilla Panchayath School, Koikude.
Eucharistic DayTime: 5:00 p.m.
Offetory procession from bus stand to Church.
Eucharistic procession & HomilyTime: 6:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Baptist Menezes, Professor, St. Joseph Seminary.
24th October 2006
Community Wedding CelebrationTime: 10:30 a.m.
Main Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Vincent Montero, Director, Pastoral Centre, Mangalore.
8 couples will receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
Community mealTime:12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
25th October 2006
Prayer for ChildrenTime: 5:00 p.m
Main celebrant: Rev. Fr. Anil D'Souza.
26th October 2006
Seminar on Information about Various DepartmentsTime: 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Adoration, Vespers and Eucharistic CelebrationTime: 6:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Very Rev. Patrick Rodrigues, Vicar Forane, Kinnigoli.
27th October 2006
Prayers for the SickTime: 5:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Very Rev Fr. Basil Vas, Vicar Forane Kasaragod.
28th October 2006
Ordinary MassTime: 8:00 a.m.
HonoursTime: 9:30 a.m.
Solemn Feast MassTime:10:00 a.m
Presided by: Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore.
Parish Priest: Rev. Fr. Alban D'Souza
Address:St. Jude Thaddeues Church,
Pakshikere, Kemral P.O.,
Via Haleangady 576146
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 9:07 PM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Archbishop Ferrao Sends Eid ul-Fitr Greetings
"May this festivity, that reinforces values like peace, self-control, sacrifice and charity, help them and all of us to appreciate and thank God for all his bountiful gifts, celebrate our mutual fellowship and promote inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding," the Archbishop said in a note released by the Diocesan communications centre.
"This," the Archbishop said, "will enable us to join hands together for the construction of a new society in Goa, characterized by a general spirit of sincere collaboration and harmonious living."
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 8:55 AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
'Telling The Story Of Jesus In Asia'October 23, 2006
The participants' pledge, reflected in a message issued at the end of the Oct. 18-22 gathering in Thailand, affirms the power of story telling as an "authentic path" of dialogue. "When God opens the door," their message says, they will "not be timid" to explicitly proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior.
Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), presented the message to the assembly on Oct. 22. The text, which he said is addressed to the People of God in Asia, reports on the content and mood of sharing, reflections, and celebrations throughout the AMC, whose theme was "The Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life."
The text compares the gathering of lay people in mission work, catechists, family members, Church ministry workers and indigenous people with bishops, priests and Religious to the first disciples who were assembled on Pentecost.
"A spacious, sprawling hotel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, became the New Upper Room," Archbishop Quevedo read from the message at ceremonies ending the congress, which was sponsored by the FABC's Office of Evangelization.
He noted that Asians can retell Jesus' story in words and deeds as the first disciples did, and said this "witnessing through action" can be done through service, compassion, community building, tolerance and sacrifice.
The message cites stories of various religious perspectives on conflicts and tensions, and also lists social conditions that challenge the mission of evangelization in the continent.
Copies of the message were given to participants who came from countries in which the local bishops' conference belongs to the FABC -- Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Other Asian countries and territories with no bishops' conference also sent delegates -- East Timor, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Joining them were priests and other observers from beyond Asia.
As part of the closing ceremonies, former strangers embraced and exchanged gifts before the closing Mass, led by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, Italy. Pope Benedict XVI had sent Cardinal Sepe as his envoy to the AMC.
More than 800 local men, women and children came for the closing Mass, which coincided with World Mission Sunday. Some wore national or tribal traditional dress, just as many AMC participants did.
The full text of the message follows:
TELLING THE STORY OF JESUS IN ASIA
The Message of the First Asian Mission Congress
Chiang Mai, Thailand, October 18-22, 2006Jesus lives! Christ is Risen! Our Savior is with us; his life is our life. These affirmations capture our sentiments as the participants of the 2006 Asian Mission Congress. Gathered in Thailand, October 18-22, 2006, we express the same joyful faith as Christ's first disciples, who proclaimed: "I have seen the Lord" (Jn. 20:18); "It is the Lord" (Jn. 21:7); "It is true: The Lord has risen" (Lk. 24:34); "My Lord and my God" (Jn. 20:28). The first disciples rejoiced: their friend, their teacher, their prophet, their compassionate healer, their beloved was miraculously - mysteriously - alive. Fear and disappointment, trauma and devastation became faith and rejoicing. Who could have expected? Who would have dreamed?
Jesus comes personally to his followers. He calls them by name: Mary of Magdala, Thomas, Peter, James, John. They recognize him. He speaks words of peace and reconciliation. The disbelieving disciples are transformed. Yet, Jesus, the Crucified-Risen One, expands the dimensions of their faith. He challenges them further. He sends them on mission: "Go forth to every part of the world, and proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation" (Mk. 16:15); "Go forth and make all nations my disciples" (Mt. 28:19); "You are witnesses to all this" (Lk. 24:48); "As the Father sent me, so I send you" (Jn. 20:21). And so the disciples set out to tell the Jesus story. They go to places, near and far: James to Jerusalem, Peter and Paul to Rome, Thomas to India. Indeed, to encounter the Risen Lord is to be sent on mission.
In God's gracious providence, over 1,000 of us contemporary disciples of Jesus assembled for the first-ever Asian Mission Congress. A spacious, sprawling hotel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, became the New Upper Room. We gathered to share our experience, to tell our stories, to meet other disciples from across the vast Asian continent, from Lebanon to Japan, from Kazakhstan and Mongolia to Indonesia. We heard inspiring stories, too numerous to count, stories of life, faith, heroism, service, prayer, dialogue, and proclamation. An infectious mood of joy pervaded us. No one doubted the active presence of the befriending Spirit of God. Together we celebrated our faith and our life as disciples of Jesus through sharing, listening, praying, celebrating the Eucharist. The multiplicity of cultures and languages added light and color to the celebration of our one common faith.
This pastoral-catechetical congress explored a unique methodology of evangelizing: story-telling or faith-sharing. We listened to narratives about the elderly, families, youth, children and women, BECs. We heard perspectives from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Tribals. Contemporary contexts were highlighted: Consumerism, Media, Migrants, and Interfaith Dialogue. How significant these are to the mission of evangelization in the present context of ethnic conflicts and religious tensions!
The Story of Jesus was the unique thread, weaving all these life experiences into one grand narrative. All the colors, peoples, languages, cultures, values, religions, and arts of Asia's peoples formed one grand tapestry. Lord, how marvelous are your ways! How deep your designs!
The world is full of stories. Human life is unimaginable without stories. Stories tell us who we are and they link us with other peoples, all across Asia and even throughout the world. Through them we explore life's deeper dimensions, including the mystery of our own being. Stories impact our life and our faith. They transform perspectives and values. They form community. Stories contain a hidden dynamism and transforming power, incalculably so when they emerge from experience. They are remembered much longer than lessons learned in school or books that are read.
Jesus was known as a story-teller. As a rabbi, a teacher, his favorite method of instruction was telling parables, insightful vignettes that revealed the depths of God's Reign. Who does not know the parable of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son? Jesus' parables challenge us with new possibilities in our relations with God and all our brothers and sisters. Many might think of Jesus, who was born in Asia, as merely akin to the great Asian wisdom teachers, such as Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Gandhi. But more marvelously, we Christians believe that Jesus is the God who became Man, sent by the Father. He is God's love story in the flesh - God's Incarnate Story.
The Asian Mission Congress sought to enflesh many of the challenges found in Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia in Asia (EA): "narrative methods akin to Asian cultural forms are to be preferred. In fact, the proclamation of Jesus Christ can most effectively be made by narrating his story, as the Gospels do" (EA 20f). Pope John Paul II recommends following "an evocative pedagogy, using stories, parables and symbols so characteristic of Asian methodology in teaching" (EA 20g).
The local Churches in Asia can be faithful to Christ's mission mandate by telling and retelling the Jesus story both in words and effective deeds of service. Repeatedly, the Church communicates its faith that originates in its experience of Jesus. The Holy Spirit, the Great Storyteller, guides the Church in all situations to tell, especially through the witness of a transformed life: "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands"; it is none other than "the Word of Life" (cf. 1 Jn. 1:1). Mission means keeping the story of Jesus alive, forming community, showing compassion, befriending the "other," carrying the Cross, witnessing to the living person of Jesus.
The disciples on the road to Emmaus observed: "Did we not feel our hearts on fire as he talked with us on the road and explained the scriptures to us (Lk. 24:32)?" For us, the way to Chiang Mai has become our Emmaus road. At the Mission Congress we shared our experiences of faith. Stories from Bangladesh and Hong Kong, from Thailand and China, from Japan and Nepal - from all across the Asian continent - set our hearts on fire. Echoes of Ecclesia in Asia resounded loudly: "A fire can only be lit by something that is itself on fire" (EA 23b). The Church in Asia is to be "a community aflame with missionary zeal to make Jesus known, loved and followed" (EA 19a). Jesus casts fire on the earth and prays that it be ablaze (cf. Lk. 12:49). "The Church in Asia shares his zeal that this fire be re-kindled now" (EA 18c). We know that our 2006 Mission Congress, sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and its Office of Evangelization, thanks to the Holy Spirit, was able to set many hearts ablaze.
The Asian Mission Congress, particularly the exchange of our faith-stories, has provided new perspectives for our task of dialoguing with the peoples (especially the poor), the religions, and the cultures of Asia (cf. FABC V: 3.1.2). The stories of Asia's poor today (beggars, people living with AIDS, migrants, the outcasts) must be read within Jesus' story and his Paschal Mystery. Asia's many venerable religions may be seen within God's universal design of salvation - that all would be saved (I Tm. 2:4). The riches of Asian cultures can be a most suitable vehicle for communicating the Jesus story. This task has "a special urgency today in the multi-ethnic, multireligious and multi-cultural situation of Asia" (EA 21b). The insightful "triple dialogue" promoted by the FABC for over three decades can be accomplished in "new and surprising ways" (EA 20f) - one of which is in the exchange of gifts through the sharing of our life's story.
At this First Asian Mission Congress we rediscovered the "joy of evangelization," Pope Paul VI's words ring true; effective mission is to be done "with ever increasing love, zeal and joy" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, EN 1). Jesus' disciples must "proclaim with joy the Good News which one has come to know through the Lord's mercy" (EN 80).
We, the Congress participants, commit ourselves to carry home to our own communities new insights into the story of Jesus, particularly its Asian dimensions. We seek to be on fire, ready to bring home vivid and inspiring stories, which could light the flame of mission in young hearts. We wish to follow Jesus' words to the possessed person (the scriptural passage we adopted at the Congress): "Go home to your own people and tell them what the Lord in his mercy has done for you" (Mk. 5:19).
We seek to approach evangelization in an Asian way, an evocative way through stories, parables and symbols, a method so characteristic of Asian pedagogy, as Pope John Paul II has so perceptively noted. It is, therefore, a way of sharing our faith with others, an authentic path of dialogue. Still we who believe in this distinctive approach to evangelization, will also "not be timid when God opens the door for us to proclaim explicitly the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and the answer to the fundamental questions of human existence" (FABC V: 4.3). On this World Mission Sunday we thank the Lord of the harvest for the countless missionaries who have come to serve in Asia through the centuries. We prayerfully commend to the Lord's love and protection the thousands from Asia who now serve in various parts of the globe.
We beseech Mary, our Mother and the Star of Evangelization, to intercede for us that our hearts may remain on fire with love of Jesus her Son, whose story we shall tell and retell through words, deeds and the witness of our lives.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(www.ucanews.com)
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 9:46 AM
Monday, October 23, 2006
Archbishop Ferrao Sends Diwali Greetings
"This ancient feast reminds us of the victory of light over darkness, truth over untruth, good over evil and life over death," the Archbishop said. "In brief, it signifies renewal of life."
"May this "festival of lights" illumine our life to acknowledge and experience the beauty of this world, enlighten us to acquire knowledge, truth and wisdom, in order to dispel the darkness of wickedness, violence, greed, fear, injustice, oppression, etc. and usher in Love, to illuminate a world that has grown dim through the darkness of hatred."
"May the lighting of the lamps be a joyful experience in and around our homes, as we celebrate this festive season. May the radiance of our life full of love, compassion, understanding, solidarity and unity, light up the horizon of our beautiful land of Goa."
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 1:29 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Praise the Lord!
Believe in Jesus Christ
You and your family will be saved (Acts 16:31)
Healing in Marriage and Family
(A Retreat for Couples)
Preached by: World renowned preacher Bro. Thomas Paul and Team
Place: Bejai Church Hall, Bejai, Mangalore
Date: 10, 11 and 12 November 2006 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 8.30 am to 5 pm
Registration fee: Rs 200 per person (tea and lunch provided)
Organised by: Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), Mangalore
Inaugural address by Rt Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore DioceseA golden opportunity for all couples in and around Mangalore.
Married singles and those who are preparing for marriage also welcome.
Children of the participants below 5 years will be taken care of at the venue
1. Bejai Church office Tel: 2217050
2. Bendur Church office Tel: 2218762
3. Milagres (M'lore) Church office Tel: 2423522
4. Cordel Church Office Tel: 2231238
5. Infant Jesus Shrine, Bikarnakatta Tel: 2211124
6. Fatima Retreat House, Jeppu (Jesu Rai office)
7. Gem & Co., Opp Milagres Church Tel: 2423448
For further details contact: 9845114717, 9448136946, 9886078030
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Cardinal Paul Poupard Sends Diwali Wishes to HindusFollowing is the text of the message written by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, to Hindus for the Feast of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which falls this year on October 21.
Overcoming hatred with love
1. As people seeking for the Absolute you will pause for a short while on your spiritual journey and celebrate joyfully Deepavali, your ancient religious feast, which for you signifies the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, good over evil and life over death. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue I wish Hindus all over the world a happy feast of Diwali.
2. The reality of love is closely connected to truth, light, goodness and life. I would like to reflect on this theme of love, through which believers of different religions are invited to overcome the evil of hatred and distrust in contemporary society. The recent terrorist bomb attacks in Mumbai, India, are yet another example of these phenomena which so often end in brutal violence. I am sure that, enriched in the light of our particular religious traditions, our resolve to invite all believers to overcome hatred by love will benefit society at large. My own reflection is inspired by the first Encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est (God is Love). The Pope wrote this letter, convinced that his message is both timely and significant "in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence " (n. 1).
3. The importance and demands of love can be best learned from God who, the Christian faith professes, is Himself Love, and whose eternal Son, for love of us, became incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ. God is the source and fullness of all love. Our love for one another becomes worthy of its name only when it has its source in God and is nourished by our union with the same God. Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, for example, constantly renewed her love of neighbour and her selfless service to the poor in her encounter with God in incessant daily prayer.
4. God loves us all without exception and his love is unconditional. Our human response to God's love must be spelt out in concrete stewardship of God's creatures, especially to human beings. It is urgent and necessary that believers of different religions manifest jointly to the world that hatred can be overcome by love. In today's complex societies, is it not possible for us to join hands and collaborate in seeking justice for all, working together on common projects, for the development of the downtrodden, the marginalised, the destitute, the orphan and the weak? "Despite the great advances made in science and technology, each day we see how much suffering there is in the world on account of different kinds of poverty, both material and spiritual" (Deus caritas est, n. 30). Moral and spiritual poverty, which are caused by breeding hatred in one’s heart, can be eradicated by believers who are filled with love and compassion. Love creates trust, which in turn, promotes genuine relationships among believers of different religions.
5. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI ends his letter, Deus caritas est, with the following words: "Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working" (n. 39). The Pope's words obviously refer to Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. However, these words can also draw your attention since for you the meaning of your feast, Diwali, is symbolized by light. May our love finally overcome the darkness of hatred in the world! Happy Diwali to you, my dear Hindu friends!
Paul Cardinal Poupard,
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 12:25 AM
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Goa Archbishop Wishes Bishop Oswald Gracias on New Appointment
"To this third Son of Goa, chosen to lead the Church in Bombay, we offer the support of our prayer and best wishes in the discharge of this new and most important service to his new Diocese," the Archbishop said in a note.
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 9:01 PM
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra appointed New Archbishop of Bombay
ARCHDIOCESAN PRESS RELEASE14th, October 2006
BOMBAY'S NEXT ARCHBISHOP
As the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Archbishop Oswald Gracias was Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). Currently, he is the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI). His appointment is truly a joyous homecoming, and the Archdiocese welcomes back a son of the city, a Mumbaikar!
Fr. Anthony Charanghat
Archdiocese of Bombay
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 7:09 PM
Friday, October 13, 2006
October 11, 2006
Retreat Center Asks Kerala State To Stop Police Harassment
"The police are harassing the inmates in the name of investigation," Peter Pattarmadom of the center declared at a press conference Oct. 10 in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.
For the past year, controversies have dogged the facility in Muringoor, a village about 2,560 kilometers south of New Delhi. Vincentian priests manage the popular center, where weekly retreats it runs throughout the year each attract more than 10,000 people from various religions.
Pattarmadom said that early this month a large team of police officials created a fearful atmosphere in the center, which also houses hundreds of mentally ill and destitute people. A 70-member team including police and state health officials visited, questioned people and examined documents on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, spending seven hours at the center each day.
The investigation team "created a panic and scare among the inmates," Pattarmadom later told UCA News. He said the police acted illegally, searching even the living quarters and bathrooms of women and questioning mentally unsound people.
Media, he charged, "unfortunately" have projected the center as a place of "crime or persecution." The misinformation campaign is "part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying the credibility of the center," he added.
Twelve people representing the center addressed the press conference.
Lawyer Philip Joseph said police who raided the center violated norms and directives of India's Supreme Court. "We don't keep our doors closed to anyone. Thousands of people are living at the center irrespective of caste or religion," he told the media gathering.
The spokespeople explained that the center offers shelter for more than 10,000 people in different houses meant for people who are mentally ill, orphaned, sick, destitute and drug-addicted. They insisted it does not run a hospital but houses these people because they have no place to go.
The investigation started following a March 10 directive of the Kerala High Court. The court was acting on an anonymous letter and two compact discs it reportedly received that implicated the center in a series of crimes and irregularities including murder, rape, foreign exchange violations and running a hospital without a proper license.
Last year a woman claiming to be a former employee of the retreat center told a magistrate that a priest official of the center raped and impregnated her. The woman, Mini Varghese, was in police custody in a theft case when she made the complaint.
The priest willingly underwent a DNA test and it proved the allegation of the woman "baseless," Pattarmadom told the press conference. He cited such inquiries as part of a plan to harass the center.
However, Inspector General of Police Vincent M. Paul, who is in charge of the probe ordered by the High Court, denied the allegations of police harassment. He said it was conducted following the court directions. "We will be submitting our report soon," Paul told UCA News on Oct. 10.
Except for one uniformed police officer, all others who entered the center for investigation were in civilian dress, he said. "The inspection team was accompanied by a medical team. We never harassed anybody there. We checked the facilities and talked to people and examined the medical care offered at the center," Paul explained.
Meanwhile, opposition leader and former state chief minister Oomman Chandy, an Orthodox Christian, released to the media an Oct. 10 letter in which he demanded an explanation from the government. The letter said police made the investigation "a big show." He requested the home minister of the ruling communist alliance to visit the center to understand the "ground realities."
"I've visited the center and have great appreciation for its services," Chandy told UCA News Oct. 10.
That same day about 200 people held a prayer meeting for the center's cause in front of the state legislature. Auxiliary Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathiose of Trivandrum Syro-Malankara archdiocese addressed the group.
The Syro-Malankara Church, like the larger Syro-Malabar Church, is an Oriental Catholic rite based in Kerala. They and the Latin-rite, largest of the three, make up the Indian Catholic Church.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (http://www.ucanews.com/)
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 7:27 AM
Thursday, October 12, 2006
One-day Catholic Charismatic Retreat at Jebel Ali, UAE
The retreat will commence at 9am and end by 5PM. Free catering will be arranged.
Kindly forward the information to all your friends in the UAE using the email link below.
Posted by Joel Godwin Fernandes
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 1:15 PM
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
October 9, 2006
Catholics Pray For Peace As Riot-hit Mangalore Remains Under Curfew
"We are facing a very bad and sad situation," Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore told UCA News on Oct. 8, after attending a peace meeting along with Hindu and Muslim religious leaders. Mangalore, a coastal city in Karnataka state, has been the scene of Hindu-Muslim rioting since Oct. 1.
At the meeting, Bishop D'Souza related that he has urged people to view everyone as children of the same God, to "live and let live," compromise with one another, and adopt a forgiving attitude.
He earlier used electronic mail to issue a peace message to the public and also sent a circular to all parishes to "pray for peace" in the city where "communal harmony has existed for several centuries."
Clashes between groups in various parts of the city have resulted in the deaths of two Muslims, including a cleric, and the wounding of more than 80 people. On Oct. 7, the administration imposed a curfew and a shoot-on-sight order for curfew violators in the city.
A Hindu group blocked a vehicle that Muslims were using to transport cattle to a slaughtering house in the city on Oct. 4. Eating beef has been banned in Mangalore following opposition from Hindus, who consider the cow sacred.
The city witnessed Hindu-Muslim riots three days earlier when Muslims protested against a tableau in a Hindu procession that portrayed a Muslim worshipping Durga, a Hindu goddess.
The police have arrested more than 300 people in 97 cases registered in connection with violence and group clashes. State Home Minister M.P. Prakash, who visited the city on Oct. 9, said that damage to public property amounting to 10 million rupees (about US$220,480) has been reported.
Bishop D'Souza said Sunday Masses on Oct. 8 had no problems at parishes in rural areas, but the curfew made it difficult for city-dwelling parishioners to attend Mass. Father Peter Noronha of St. Sebastian's parish told UCA News on Oct. 8 that only a few people turned up for the Masses due to the curfew. He added that the parish organized special prayers for peace and harmony.
According to Father Noronha, some Catholics attended the services when the administration relaxed the curfew between 9 and 11 in the morning. "Instead of queuing up in provision stores, they opted to come to the church," he noted.
He also said that people came using side roads to avoid main roads where the police and paramilitary forces patrolled, and that his church conducted all five of its Sunday Masses, even if attendance was less than normal.
However, Father Walter D'Mello, parish priest of a downtown church, told UCA News that people came only during the curfew relaxation hours. People were not allowed to leave their houses otherwise, he pointed out, and the only vehicles seen on the main roads were police vehicles.
Roshan D'Souza, a Catholic youth leader, said Hindu fundamentalists did not spare Catholics. Two months ago, a group of Bajrang Dal (party of the strong and stout) activists attacked several Christian-owned shops for allegedly selling beef. About 2,000 people joined a rally Christians organized soon after the attacks, but the rally "went unnoticed as we did not resort to any violence," D'Souza said. As for the current violence, the youth leader lamented that "a handful" of criminals "have taken the city for a ride."
Father John Fernandez, convener of Dharma Samanwaya (religious equality), said his interreligious harmony movement plans to organize prayer and peace meetings in schools and colleges once life returns to normal in the city.
Members of the movement believe harmony is best achieved through education, so they reach out only to students, Father Fernandez said. "Once our children are properly educated and motivated to respect every religion, such violence could be prevented in future," he said.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (http://www.ucanews.com/)
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 10:21 AM
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Sectarian Violence Mars Hindu FestivalOctober 4, 2006
More than 10 people were wounded and several vehicles and shops damaged when Hindu and Muslim communities clashed Oct. 1-2 in Bajpe, a fishing village on the outskirts of Mangalore, a port town in Karnataka state, 2,085 kilometers south of New Delhi.
On Oct. 2 across India, Hindus celebrated Dussera, a festival marking the victory of good over evil. The festival comes after nine days of fasting and penance.
Karnataka observes Dussera as a public festival, closing educational institutions for 10 days and disbursing special bonuses for employees. Hindus in the state celebrate with processions featuring tableaus on open vehicles. These consist of people portraying various scenes linked to the festival.
Processions in Mangalore displayed more than 200 tableaus. One of the tableaus prepared by a temple in Bajpe depicted a Muslim worshipping the goddess Durga, the festival's central deity. According to local tradition, a Muslim merchant, Bappa Beary, built the temple in the predominantly Muslim village three centuries ago as a sign of gratitude to the goddess for helping his community survive natural calamities.
Anand Kunder, a local Hindu, explained to UCA News that the tableau depicted the legend to symbolize Hindu-Muslim harmony prevailing in the region.
However, trouble started on Oct. 1 evening when some Muslims objected to the Bajpe tableau in a procession and demanded its removal.
The organizers refused, and as the two groups argued, violence erupted. People from both communities blocked roads and damaged vehicles and property. The local administration imposed a ban on more than three people gathering in one place, and police arrested a dozen people and registered nine cases.
The procession resumed several hours following the altercation, after police removed the controversial tableau. The ban was enforced after the procession.
Mohammed Shammy, a local Muslim youth, charges that Hindus put up the tableau deliberately to insult his community and incite sectarian violence. "Nobody denies the history, and we are proud that a Muslim built the Durga temple, but we don't expect a public tableau to display a Muslim worshipping a Hindu goddess," he told UCA News.
"Harmony is the culture of the majority people," Shammy added, "and sowing disharmony is the culture of anti-social elements."
The Indian Union Muslim League, a political outfit, has asked the state chief minister to provide security for the Muslim community. Ahmed Jamal, the league's state secretary, has urged his people to remain calm and not to resort to violence.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (www.ucanews.com)
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 10:51 AM
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Police, Health Officials Search Asia's Largest Catholic Retreat CenterOctober 2, 2006
Police officials said a joint team spent Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the center in the southern state of Kerala as part of a probe the Kerala High Court ordered. The court on March 10 asked the state government to set up a special team to probe allegations against the retreat center in Muringoor, a village about 2,560 kilometers south of New Delhi.
Vincentian priests manage the complex, Asia's largest Catholic charismatic retreat center. Also considered one of the largest centers of its kind in the world, it conducts weekly retreats in six Indian languages and English throughout the year. More than 10,000 people from various religions attend the programs, which begin Sunday evening and end Saturday morning.
The court acted on an anonymous letter and two compact discs it reportedly received implicating Divine Retreat Center in a series of crimes and irregularities such as murder, rape, foreign exchange violations and running a hospital without proper license.
A 70-member police team led by Superintendent P.C. Muhajir of the Police Crime Branch visited the center at 8 a.m. on Sept. 30 and searched it for seven hours, while district medical officer Doctor Rajagopal led a health-department team of six pharmacists, two physicians and two psychiatrists.
The two groups quizzed center officials and people living there. The team returned the next day to seek detailed explanations from center authorities.
The team refused to divulge its findings. Muhajir told UCA News they would "submit a detailed report about our findings to the court" and that it was improper to divulge the details earlier than that, lest it affect "the future course of investigation."
The inspection team checked the center's facilities for treating drug addicts and alcoholics. They examined the drugs prescribed for patients and treatment procedures. The health officials on the search team expressed concern over what they saw.
"The patients are not getting proper medical care at the center," a health official told UCA News on condition of anonymity. According to him, the health-care facilities at the center violated medical laws and practices.
According to a police official, the search teams found that the center runs a hospital in its complex and treats patients without qualified medical professionals. The retreat center had applied for a license to run a hospital in 2001, but permission has not yet been granted.
The police official said the team also detected irregularities and violations of medical ethics in the treatment of patients suffering from depression and alcoholism at the center.
The center's director, Vincentian Father George Panackal, denied that it runs an illegal hospital. "The allegations are part of the conspiracy to defame the center and its activities," the priest told UCA News.
He acknowledged that the retreat center manages a center for mentally challenged people and a treatment center for alcoholics with federal government recognition. Their emergency dispensary cares for some of the thousands of people who attend retreats every week, he added.
According to Father Panackal, four psychiatrists give medical care and support for the mentally challenged people at the center. Other people get round-the-clock service from a resident medical officer, the priest said.
"We are serving people who live on the margins of society," he explained. Most people they care for have been "discarded by society," he continued, and the center does not "close our doors to them as they have nowhere to go."
The center runs St. Vincent Home, which serves 100 people living with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Among them 13 are children. The retreat center also helps 150 substance abusers. Its Shantipuram (city of peace) facility houses 450 mentally ill patients. Maria Shanthi Bhavan (home of peace), started in November 2004, houses 100 destitute women. Another home, started in 1990, serves 150 widows and abandoned wives, and 300 children.
Legal trouble for the center began after a woman claiming to be one of its former employees told a magistrate that a priest at the center raped and impregnated her. The woman was in judicial custody for a theft case when she made the complaint.
Father Panackal said a Hindu police official probed the woman's allegations and reported them as baseless. Later the accused priest underwent a DNA test that proved the allegations as false.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (http://www.ucanews.com/)
Posted by Austine J. Crasta at 12:17 PM